Heart attack is considered to be a man’s ailment, but the truth is, heart disease kills more women then men each year – nearly 460,000 per year. That’s more than die from all types of cancer combined.
Sadly, because it is considered a man’s disease, doctors often brush aside women’s symptoms until it’s too late.
There is no valid reason for that kind of neglect and incompetence from health professionals, but there may be a reason why so many women suffer from heart disease.
According to a recent study, lack of sleep may be the catalyst for female heart attacks. And women often short themselves on sleep in order to care for their families.
This study, published in the journal Sleep, found that women who get less than 5 hours of sleep per night had unusually high amounts of protein in their blood. One of those proteins, hs-CRP, or C-Reactive Protein, is the leading indicator of pending heart attack.
Heart attack is only one of the serious diseases associated with high blood levels of CRP, but people with high CRP levels are four and a half times more likely to have a heart attack than those with normal levels. They’re a more reliable indicator than either cholesterol or homocysteine in predicting the risk of a heart attack.
Other serious diseases related to high CRP levels are Obesity, Dental Disease, Blood Sugar Disorders, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Viral Disease.
Interestingly, lack of sleep did not cause the same rise in CRP in men.
High levels of CRP are commonly caused by inflammation in the body. This can be a reaction to an infection, toxins, burns, or injury. Only the recent studies show that it is a reaction to lack of sleep in women. While elevated levels will decline when caused by other sources, consistent lack of sleep will keep those levels high.
Knowing this, and knowing that women generally short themselves on sleep in order to keep up with the demands of both work and family, it is no wonder that more women than men are dying from heart disease.
So ladies, next time you’re tempted to stay up an extra hour to get the kitchen clean or make sure everyone in the family has fresh cookies for their lunch tomorrow, resist. Teach your family to take care of some things themselves so you can get the sleep you require.
They may love and appreciate the things you do for them, but they also want you to be alive and healthy to enjoy life with them.